Actor and singer Mandy Patinkin, who currently stars in Homeland, is seen… (Jennifer S. Altman/For…)
When Mandy Patinkin woke up Thursday morning, it was because his alarm went off. It was time to ... pick up a Zipcar.
"I was so worried I wouldn't wake up in time," Patinkin said. "I was renting a Zipcar because I have to head to upstate New York for an appointment with a refrigerator repairman. When the alarm went off, I saw a text from my publicist about the good news."
The Manhattan-based actor earned a supporting actor nomination for his role as the bearded moral center (a.k.a. Carrie's perpetual crying shoulder at the CIA) Saul Berenson in Showtime's "Homeland," which wraps its second season on Sunday.
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But has the triumph already been sullied by bad news? Patinkin, who spoke to Show Tracker while on Route 87 (we assume he had a hands-free device!), said he might find himself taking a hike in the woods after the repairman told him how much the repairs on his busted appliance would cost.
"Eh, I won't let it bring me down," Patinkin said. "I'm too excited!"
The 60-year-old actor, who gleefully says the show makes him feel like a sprightly 25-year-old despite the distressed situations, has gained quite a following for his portrayal, even catching the attention of "SNL," which recently spoofed the drama.
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"I absolutely loved it," Patinkin said, noting it takes him eight to 10 weeks to get the beard to Saul specifications (for those interested in duplicating). "I thought it was great, but I was confused. I remember turning to my wife and saying, 'I don't know why people find it so funny.' I thought it was almost too accurate -- which made me wonder if people laugh at me every week. Bill Hader could be me!"
But "Homeland" co-creators Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa agree that there's no one who could play Saul quite like Patinkin.
"The beard is a huge part of the appeal," Gordon joked. "It's remarkable. You can lose yourself in it."
That's certainly true, but then there's Patinkin's minimal yet intense presence that's also not something to be ignored.
"He has this incredibly understated brilliance about him," Gansa said.
Gansa added that a three-hour discussion took place on planning for Season 3.
"I have to say that after the awards season last year, all of us felt this incredible pressure this year to live up to the promise of the first season," he said. "I think this nomination tells us on some level that we succeeded. It's gratifying."
Not one to spill any top-secret confidential story plots, Gansa offered these huge spoilers, upon our prodding:
"Dana will get another pair of boots," and "I imagine the cork-board wall will return next season."
But what about Carrie and Brody and their budding romance? Could it ever escalate to marriage? Should that work its way into the twisting narrative, Patinkin wants Saul in on it.
"I'm hoping Saul willl officiate at the wedding," he said. "I think he knows the correct prayers."
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